A Narrow Bridge

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Fanfiction
Title: A Narrow Bridge
Author(s): Kass
Date(s): 2009
Length: 18,430 words
Genre: AU, slash
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
External Links: A Narrow Bridge at AO3
A Narrow Bridge (fanworks by kass)

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A Narrow Bridge is an SGA AU by Kass written in 2009, set in a yeshiva.

It was published alongside a glossary of non-English words, to make the story more accessible to readers for whom Hebrew and Yiddish terminology is unfamiliar.[1] It is, in this regard, part of a very small subset of AU stories, along with schemingreader's Harry Potter yeshiva AU The Heart's Obligations.

Author's Summary: Rav Caldwell, the rosh yeshiva of Sha'arei ha-Kochavim, was standing with his arm around the new guy. Who was dressed more-or-less exactly like everyone else: black trousers, white shirt, though it seemed to Rodney that he might have left one more button undone at the top of the shirt than was strictly kosher here. Black velvet kippah pinned securely over a fairly obvious cowlick.

Reactions and Reviews

This is a great AU. Stargate as yeshiva bochurs! Although, I think it's kinda AU from RL, too, but in a good way. It's nice to have a happy ending for this kind of thing. I think that the fact that they're BT and not FFB helps with the happy ending; they don't have to deal with familial prolems and pressure and what this would do to their family's standings in the community, and also gave them less soul-searching and angst about it, because they've experienced the outside world and aren't sheletered and also have degrees, so if they get thrown out on their own, they won't starve. (also, are they out to other people, or just their core group of friends?). It really is nice to see gay frummies get a happy ending. I don't think I've seen that happen before in a way that doesn't make them have to assimilate or become Reform.

The idea of Ronon as a Chassid makes me laugh in a good way (they don't get along with Lubavich! as someone who comes from a long line of misnagdim and has a deep distrust of yechiniks, I completely approve), and I like the way you depict Ronon's brand of chassidus co-existing in a misnagd yeshiva. I kinda winced at the idea of Rodney frumming out at MIT and subsequently throwing away his science dreams. The way you wrote how he feels about science vs. religion; there's no reason physics and Orthodoxy can't live happily together, so it breaks my heart that he had such a bad experience at MIT that he ran towards Rambam and threw away his previous dreams.

I like the way you drew up the yeshiva world, it felt very real to me. And I LOLed at the name of the yeshiva.[2]

This was like stepping into another world, complete with its own language and rituals...all very foreign to me."[3]

One of the things I love about AUs is that they immerse me in another world and show me familiar characters in a new light and this was perfect in that respect. I'm not at all familiar with yeshivas but I didn't even check the glossary because you put me there beautifully and naturally.[4]
I loved reading this. I loved being completely immersed in a milieu I'm not intimately acquainted with, loved the fact it *was* immersion, basically, that everything wasn't explained and spelled out. Though I have a passing familiarity with tiny pieces of this, it was mainly like negotiating in a foreign country or culture for me, but due to the skill of your storytelling skills and description, and the craft involved with the whole thing, that unfamililarity just made it a really cool reading experience.[5]
I thought this was one of the more unusual SGA AU scenarios I've encountered, and only in part because it's a non-stargate AU that put them in a yeshiva instead, which is quite a step from SF soldier hero with geek sidekick, but even more because it's unusual that in an AU John and Rodney do more or less both the same thing, rather than meeting by chance. Still I enjoyed the AU, and I liked the glimpses we got of their backstories (I'd totally read a prequel to this giving me more of this John's history).[6]

Response from skeptics

Some Israeli readers found the story surreal because of its American setting, which presents a different set of circumstances and assumptions than hold true in Israel. Roga wrote:

"All in all: a super-enjoyable read :-) The premise is – okay, sorry, I have to use that word again, weird for me (because of the politics of secular/haredi relationships in Israel, and because on top of that I’m atheist, so it’s a lot easier for me to accept the yeshiva in Yentl and love the characters freely than to feel the same about yeshivas today), but – is what I am trying to say – you dealt with it in a fun, funny, serious, and meaningful way, and I don’t think anyone could have done it better. Ever.
And to conclude: SERIOUSLY, SHAAREI HAKOCHAVIM. That is too much FTW in a single phrase :-)"[7]

Some readers who had been leery of Si Muovo were likewise leery here, but found themselves won over:

"I was just as leery about reading this story as I was the other one about faith you wrote, where Rodney’s the Jesuit priest, but I should have figured I didn’t need to worry. I love about this one the same things I loved about the other one: how much respect and knowledge you have about the religious traditions you’re writing about, and how Rodney’s love for John isn’t exclusive of his religion, but enhanced by it. I’m just so used to people using religion as intolerance in fic, and it’s so amazingly awesome and refreshing to read what you’ve written."[8]

Additional Recs & Reactions

  • "[...] it's essentially set in a universe I know next to nothing about. [The location is not incidental to the story, so I spent a fair bit of my time reading this being kind of fascinated at the religious parts of the story, (religion is a thing of great mystery to me) and that culture. I got something that I hadn't before.] It works really well. [9]
  • "this was one of the more unusual SGA AU scenarios I've encountered, and only in part because it's a non-stargate AU that put them in a yeshiva instead, which is quite a step from SF soldier hero with geek sidekick, but even more because it's unusual that in an AU John and Rodney do more or less both the same thing, rather than meeting by chance. Still I enjoyed the AU, and I liked the glimpses we got of their backstories (I'd totally read a prequel to this giving me more of this John's history)."[10]

References

  1. "A Narrow Bridge glossary". Retrieved Feb 2, 2012. 
  2. Comment at AO3 by [name withheld at request]. (Accessed Feb 2, 2012)
  3. dodificus. "Comment at AO3". Retrieved Feb 1, 2012. 
  4. livrelibre. "Comment at AO3". Retrieved Feb 1, 2012. 
  5. cathalin. "comment". Retrieved Feb 1, 2012. 
  6. "Alternate Universe Recs for Stargate: Atlantis". 
  7. roga. "comment". Retrieved Feb 1, 2012. 
  8. merrin. "Comment at AO3". Retrieved Feb 2, 2012. 
  9. 4: Quick Recs post by kiki-eng, 25 Feb 2009. (Accessed Feb 3, 2012)
  10. ratcreature. "AU recs". Retrieved Feb 3, 2012.